Gary Payton on his BIG3 absence: ‘I had stuff to do’
All things considered, the BIG3 league is a huge success; basketball fans have been entertained with nostalgia at the forefront as they witness former NBA players show they still got game even well past their primes. One such player, however, was not as dedicated to bringing his A-game to the event.
Former NBA Defensive Player of the Year and coach of the BIG3’s 3 Headed Monsters, Gary Payton, was not present during the league’s opening day festivities in New York. Instead, the 48-year-old legend opted to stay in the West Coast where he resides, and his reason for skipping out on two practice sessions and the first day of media reception was as blunt and cuss-filled as the Gary Payton of old.
Bonsu Thompson released an in-depth piece for Bleacher Report covering the BIG3 as a whole, and it was there where Payton held nothing back in his defense for his absence on Day 1 (NSFW language ahead):
“I had stuff to do… I had businesses to handle. S–t. This ain’t my m—–n’ job… This ain’t paying my bills.”
Had Payton given this sort of reply in the NBA, he would’ve definitely been fined by the league for his hiatus and explicit comments. Thankfully for the nine-time All-Star, the BIG3 doesn’t have regulations in place for such actions.
Ironically, Payton’s tirade — as practical as his motives were — gave the BIG3 a boost in visibility. The league will take any and all publicity coming from its participants, and Payton’s brash personality definitely draws a lot of attention. It’s not as if he bashed the BIG3 organization directly anyway, but rather that he considers his stint for Ice Cube’s passion project also like a pastime or a hobby and not a full-time job that helps him meet his ends. It just so happened that Payton’s personal agenda for that day didn’t fit like a “glove” with the BIG3’s own schedule.